Friday, July 6, 2018

Dojo Classics - Yang #4

Yang Volume 2, Number 4 is dated September 1974 and was published by Charlton Publicatons Inc. The cover was illustrated by Warren Sattler, who also did the interiors. The script was written by Joe Gill. George Wildman was the editor.

"The Hooded Death" begins in Lucky Nugget, a mining town and specifically the bar owned by Mrs. Brundage where Yang rescues an innocent miner about to be gunned down during a poker game. Yang is able to defeat the thugs in the employ of Brundage who lures Yang into taking a cup of tea which is drugged. The unconscious Yang awakes penniless and is directed to a unscrupulous banker named Webb. Webb stakes Yang to mine in Grizzly Gulch, sending him there with equipment and a mule. Yang arrives there but soon enough learns the place gets its name from a ferocious grizzly bear who attacks but is beaten back by Yang. Yang then begins to mine and finds a mother lode of gold. After a month of mining he loads up and heads back to Lucky Nugget. After leaving the Gulch he is set upon by a sniper but escapes being wounded and defeats his attacker, killing him with a single blow to the neck. Adding the body to his load he gets into Lucky Nugget in time to see a robbery in progress which he stops before encountering Webb who knows the name of the sniper, a man named Childrers. Another gunman named Thompson confronts Yang.

"Boot Hill Booty!" begins as Thompson is shot by Mrs.Brundage who appears to help Yang. Yang is directed to Boot Hill where he buries Childers. He has one sack of his gold assayed and it proves to be ninety percent pure and Yang puts the remaining sacks into the safe. News of his strike gets to Webb and Brundage who plot to lure Yang into trouble. A woman claiming to be Brundage's niece takes Yang to her, but a group of thugs interferes and Yang is forced to defeat them. When Yang leaves Brundages, a trap has been set by the local Vigilantes who are actually in the employ of Webb and Brundage and they manage to hogtie Yang and the masked me threaten to hang our hero. He fights back successfully until a masked Brundage gets the drop on him and he is put on the back of a horse and a noose put on his neck. But Yang is able to use his great training to escape and in the darkness he evades the vigilantes. Webb and Brundage decide to steal Yang's gold but after blowing the safe they find only dirt in the sacks. Wile Yang did strike it rich, he hid the gold in the grave with the body of Chliders and not the safe. The miners in the meantime have elected a sheriff named Morgan who then arrests Brundage and Webb and the other thugs. Yang vows to use his wealth to help free his people from slavery.

"Yin-Yang Mail" features three letters, mostly of praise for the new series. There is explanation of a comment made in the letters page of Midnight Tales #6 which mentioned that Sanho Kim was working on a superhero series. Folks imagined Yang must be that series, and as it turns out they were not completely wrong. It turns out that Kim did indeed produce a work titled Wrong Country, but it was lost in the mail. The paper shortage at the time prevented Charlton from publishing it immediately. The editors also mention that they've gotten few letters to Yang, and that they do not agree personally with the unfavorable attitude toward women reflected in the Yin-Yang philosophy.

This issue of Yang has not been reprinted to my knowledge. Here though is a groovy link to read the story in its original form.

This is a solid issue and it's good to see Yang interacting with some new players. Mrs. Brundage fills the female Yin role nicely and while if I were Yang after this, I'd be a confirmed woman hater. The mining town backdrop is a good one for action, and this issue has a bunch. Yang's willingness to kill his opponents opens up the complexity of the story quite a bit and gives the proceedings some real gravity.

The cover of this particular issue is a pretty violent one too, and I'm a bit surprised it got past the code. While the image is one which suggest racism, the story inside doesn't really show that at all. It's not Yang's race which is a problem for Brundage and Webb, merely his do-gooder habits which keep them from profits.

Not mentioned in this issue's letters page, but well known now is that Yang by Joe Gill and Warren Sattler was the replacement for Kim's lost project. Later Sanho Kim would be tapped to do the spin-off House of Yang and he would not have time to continue Wrong Country which was eventually published in the pages of Charlton Bullseye #3 many months later.

More on Wrong Country tomorrow.

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